• Tracie Koehnlein

Pet Parent's Guide to Apartment Living: Preventing Potty Accidents

Everyone knows the risks of living in a pet friendly building include the occasional accident, but we should all do our best to prevent them. So, what can you do?

Establishing Good Potty Habits

If you have a new puppy that is not fully housetrained, you shouldn’t allow them to walk in any public areas of the building while they’re still adjusting to going outside. When you take them out to potty it’s best you avoid accidents by carrying them from your unit until you get outside.

Newly adopted adult dogs or those who have never lived in a multifamily building may become somewhat confused about the appropriate potty spots - and that’s totally normal! Dogs who have been housetrained know that they shouldn’t go in their home, but those unaccustomed to apartments may not yet understand that the lobby, elevator, or halls are also not good place to go potty even though it’s not inside their apartment. Some basic training techniques (and delicious treats!) can assist with teaching them the proper place and time to relieve themselves when leaving the home.


Prevention in Action

If your dog is adjusting to living in a large building, or not housebroken and too big to carry outside, try keeping their focus on you to distract them until you exit the building. Bring a squeaky toy or high value treats to keep their attention on you until you get outside and they can relieve themselves. Avoid allowing your dog to engage in pre-pottying behaviors indoors, this may include things like circling or stopping to smell things like carpet and potted plants.

Keeping the Building Clean

To maintain good etiquette, avoid letting your dog potty on the stair/ramp/decorative plants that are immediately outside your building. While it may not be as bad as allowing them to go inside the building, it will certainly create a bad odor over time and is visually unappealing for those coming into the building!

Not only is preventing accidents important to keep the building clean, but you want to instill appropriate potty locations as much as possible. If a dog acts on a behavior, they’re more likely to do it again, and other dogs may be encouraged to go on a spot they smell another dog has “visited”.



Last of all, if an accident does happen? Tell your concierge right away and apologize so it can be cleaned up by your building’s maintenance team. It may be embarrassing, but better things be cleaned quickly than left for an unlucky neighbor to step in. With consistent practice and training, your dog will adjust to their new environment and should be able to hold it in until they get to their favorite tree (or hydrant)!